03 December 2012

Simple backup for genealogical data

The following backup tip comes from BIFHSGO colleague Ken McKinlay.

For backing up just my genealogy data I use a 16 GB USB memory stick and a free program called Syncback. I've setup the task in Syncback to only synchronize the changed data going from my desktop computer to the memory stick. It is quick (1-5 minutes usually) and painless to run ... plug in memory stick, and a couple of clicks later my data is backed up. I then take that memory stick to my laptop and sync that information on the stick to the drive on my laptop so that I have current information on my laptop.
There are paid version of Synback, SE and Pro, but Ken advises that the free version works just fine for simple synchronizing of information.

Once you've backed up check to make sure you can recover your files or its all a big waste of time and resources.


Paul Jones said...

A useful tip. But if his home burns down, is flooded or his computers vandalized? Free or low-cost cloud storage is also advisable on a periodic basis.

Steve Fulton said...

I agree with the Cloud suggestion. Some of the cloud auto sync so you don't have to worry. The more hands off you make backup, the better it works.

Steve Fulton U.E.

Ken McKinlay said...

The USB memory stick isn't the only option that I use but it is one of many. This includes periodically providing others with copies of the digital images of my sources and the use of Dropbox for holding copies of the database backups the genealogy software produces. The USB memory stick also makes for an easy way to transport the backup to another location (friends, family, bank safety deposit box, etc.)

"Cloud storage" is an option but you have to watch out for issues with automatic backups and synchronization. If you delete something locally and you automatically sync all (additions, modifications, deletions of files) changes to the storage on the Internet then that deletion is also replicated to the cloud. That has the potential of defeating your backup strategy.

You always need to know and understand the risks and benefits of backup strategies employed. Additionally you need to test how you can restore that backed up information.